An artificial shortage of medicinal drugs had been created in government hospitals to enable emergency drug purchases, Sri Lanka Medical Association (SLMA) President Dr. Vinya Ariyaratne said recently, testifying before the parliamentary Sectoral Oversight Committee on an Open and Accountable Government.
Dr. Ariyaratne also said that carcinogenic foods had flooded the market without any regulations, and action had to be taken to protect the public.
“We must stop the practice of emergency purchases,” the SLMA President said.
Health sector trade unions have blamed the Health Ministry officials for emergency procurement of substandard drugs and equipment.When a committee official asked Dr. Ariyaratne what the country could do about drug shortages, he said the Minister of Health and his officials were responsible for sorting them out.
A great deal of public money was wasted due to the absence of accountability in the state sector, Rohana Hettiarachchi, Executive Director of People’s Action for Free & Fair Elections (PAFFREL) said in his testimony before the Sectoral Oversight Committee.
“Look at the sheer number of state-owned buildings that have remained closed in strategic locations. The heads of the institutions they belong to don’t care at all about the loss of income or the underutilisation of those precious assets,” Hettiarachchi said, adding that the losses incurred by the state due to lack of accountability could be greater than those caused by bribery and corruption.
“The heads of the state institutions don’t care about waste.State enterprises don’t always have to make profits. Sometimes they make losses, but waste can’t be tolerated on any grounds,” Hettiarachchi said, calling for action to prevent it.
The Oversight Committee consists of: Jagath Kumara Sumithraarachchi, Mohomad Muzammil, Gunathilaka Rajapaksha, W. D. J. Seneviratne, Wajira Abeywardana, J. C. Alawathuwala, Chaminda Wijesiri, Sanjeeva Edirimanna,Udayana Kirindigoda, Rohana Bandara, Sanjeeva Edirimanna